Adapted, like so many of Naruse's best films, from a Fumiko Hayashi novel, and starring his favorite actress, Hideko Takamine, Lightning illuminates the director's key theme of entrapment within the family system. Takamine plays Kiyoko, a bus conductor in the Ginza area of Tokyo whose marriageable status makes her the pawn in her family's various schemes. “A superbly wistful rendering of Hayashi's lowlife characters to the screen. Takamine plays the upright and ambitious daughter to a mother who has given her three siblings, all by different fathers, and all wallowing in a kind of resentful dependence on each other. Naruse delineates each one of the different characters with sharp ease, and creates the full suffocation of the atmosphere Kiyoko must leave” (Audie Bock).

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